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tactile literacy

Now we carry tactile drawings of intersections that help teachers and students alike

Now we carry tactile drawings of intersections that help teachers and students alike

By Caitlin O’Malior

LightHouse and the Adaptations Store are proud to introduce the newest independent travel training tool in the Orientation & Mobility (O&M) field, the Tactile Intersection Diagrams Packet. This innovative tool was created through the collaboration of LightHouse O&M instructor Sarah McIntyre and the designers in LightHouse’s Media and Accessible Design Lab.

Sarah explains how these tactile diagrams will help people who are blind or have low vision better understand street intersections and crossings through tactile representation.

“O&M Instructors can use these diagrams to facilitate discussions about intersection design, the movement of vehicles, lane-by-lane scanning patterns, and other topics, such as street crossing recovery while working remotely or indoors. They can also be used as a supplement to onsite instruction and can be used as the platform for any number of innovative remote or indoor lessons for all students.”

When you purchase a packet, you’ll receive 13 different diagrams, including:

  • Intersection shapes
  • 4-way stop sign
  • Basic stoplight
  • Multilane basic stoplight
  • 2 pocket turn lanes
  • 4 pocket turn lanes
  • Dedicated turn lanes
  • 1 one-way street
  • 2 one-way streets
  • T-shaped intersection
  • 4 right-turn islands
  • Pedestrian scramble
  • Roundabout

All materials are printed on 8.5 x 11 Swell paper and have been produced by a PIAF (Pictures in a Flash) machine which raises the carbon in the ink print, creating smooth raised tactile lines and shapes. These new tactile intersection diagrams are an improvement upon previous designs.

“I’ve created other tactile intersection diagrams in the past, embossed in heavy duty foil, but they were very labor-intensive to make, were very bulky with sharp edges, and weren’t adaptable. Creating something that was easily portable, user-friendly, and adaptable was one of my ‘bucket list’ projects. I always had it in the back of my head to find out what it would cost to have MAD Lab design them…when the shelter in place order hit, I figured this was my chance to give it a try,” Sarah says.

The Tactile Intersections Diagrams Packet costs $55. If you are an O&M student, an O&M instructor, or someone who loves tactile literacy and learning more about intersections, this is the ideal product for you.

Order your Tactile Intersections Diagram Packet online today at Adaptations.org or call our store at 1-888-400-8933 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Pacific, Monday through Friday, with your questions.

P.S. What’s a pedestrian scramble you ask?

A pedestrian scramble is an intersection that stops all vehicles, allowing pedestrians to cross the intersection in all directions, including diagonally.

Who knew? Our O&M Team…obviously…

About TMAP

How can someone without eyesight learn a city block or navigate a new neighborhood? In 2018, the LightHouse of the Blind and Visually Impaired – SF introduced TMAP: Tactile Maps Automated Production, offering on-demand tactile street maps.

Covering an area of several blocks surrounding a given address, TMAP uses both braille and large print to identify streets, represented by crisp, raised lines that can be easily followed with the fingertips.

TMAP is a collaboration of the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute.

Side by side key and tactile map of 1155 Market Street showing braille and print text, tactile and ink street lines.
TMAP of the LightHouse Building location in San Francisco, CA.

Order a map for $25

To order a map, call our product specialists at 1-888-400-8933 or or visit adaptations.org and specify the street address of the map you’re interested in receiving. Within two business days we’ll ship you your map.

What’s in the package?

  • You will receive two maps of the same address, a zoomed-out overview map, and a zoomed-in detail map showing streets, paths, and buildings, if the data is available
  • A tactile map key
  • An introductory page (download intro page)
  • All materials are printed on 11” X 11.5” sheets of embossed paper and include ink / large print labels in addition to braille

Learn more about the MAD Lab where these maps are produced.

Contact

Recent Presentations: At Home With APH: TMAP – Building Environmental Literacy at a DistanceMobility Matters 2020 Slides, Mobility Matters 2020 Video Presentation

Related Blog Posts: Maps, at your Fingertips, New local tactile maps at Adaptations

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Reading Tactile Maps

Lesson Plans

Learning to read a tactile map can be a challenge. LightHouse O&M instructor Sarah McIntyre has put together two lesson plans to help students get acquainted with TMAPs.

Download Sarah’s Lesson Plans: Reading a TMAP and Using a TMAP While Exploring.

Other Resources

Teaching Tactile Graphics (Lucia Hasty for Perkins)

Related Posts: Putting the Mobile in Mobility

Related Pages: Frequently Asked Questions, How to Use TMAP to Make Maps, Reading Tactile Maps, Learn more about TMAP

LightHouse is featured in the Cooper Hewitt Museum’s new exhibition, The Senses: Design Beyond Vision

LightHouse is featured in the Cooper Hewitt Museum’s new exhibition, The Senses: Design Beyond Vision

This month, The Senses: Design Beyond Vision launches at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, to explore how multi-sensory design amplifies everyone’s ability to learn, explore and satisfy essential human needs and experiences.

The exhibition, which runs from 13 April until 28 October, explores design through all the senses with interactive installations, created in collaboration with more than 65 contemporary designers in the fields of product, interior, graphic, and interaction design, data visualization, scent design.

Many of the designs were created to promote independence for people with disabilities. The diverse lineup includes several designs by the LightHouse’s MAD Lab including TMAPs of the area surrounding the Cooper Hewitt Museum, our Talking BART Maps and two DCS printed floor plans of LightHouse to showcase how tactile design contributed to Chris Downey’s architectural process.

The exhibition was organized by Andrea Lipps, Cooper Hewitt’s Assistant Curator of Contemporary Design, and Ellen Lupton, Cooper Hewitt’s Senior Curator of Contemporary Design around several key concepts:

  • Design is multisensory, engaging the whole body
  • Senses interact and transform each other
  • Materials have sound, temperature, weight, and other tactile qualities
  • Sound is a vibration that can be felt on the body and skin and trigger mental images
  • Language and past experiences influence perception making each person’s sensory experience unique

“Across all industries and disciplines, designers are avidly seeking ways to stimulate our sensory responses to solve problems of access and enrich our interactions with the world,” says Cooper Hewitt’s Director Caroline Baumann. “The Senses shares their discoveries and invites personal revelation of the extraordinary capacity of the senses to inform and delight.

“Within the inclusive environment created for the exhibition, there will be over 40 touchable objects, as well as services, such as audio and visual descriptions of the works on view, to ensure the exhibition will be welcoming to visitors of all abilities, an important step forward in our ongoing commitment to making Cooper Hewitt accessible to everyone.”

The Senses: Design Beyond Vision will launch at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York on 13 April and run until 28 October 2018.

To contract for custom tactile maps of your neighborhood, workplace or university or propose a project, visit http://lighthouse-sf.org/braille-and-accessible-design/.

New in our store: Make raised line drawings instantly with the Sensational BlackBoard

New in our store: Make raised line drawings instantly with the Sensational BlackBoard

It’s not every day that you have access to a swell printer when you want to create tactile images or reference materials. But with the lightweight and portable Sensational BlackBoard you can instantly create raised-line drawings whenever, and wherever. All you need is the BlackBoard, a sheet of printer paper, and a ballpoint pen. Place the paper against the rubberized side of the blackboard and push down when you draw to perforate the paper. You can feel your drawing as you go, so there’s no need to flip your paper over or draw in reverse.

It’s a great way to make tactile images quickly, and a great tool for teachers interested in tracing copies from text book or reference materials. The Sensational Blackboard is:

  • Lightweight, at just 7 oz.
  • Flexible enough not to break in your backpack but rigid enough to draw on your lap.
  • Uses inexpensive materials: all you need is standard copy paper and medium ballpoint pen.
  • Smooth surface holds the paper in place. No clamps makes it easy to tuck into a briefcase or binder 11.25” x 9”.

It’s an elegant design that is simply sensational. Want to try it out? Stop by the Adaptations Store in person and we’ll give you a demo. Available now for $65.00!

LightHouse’s MAD Lab Receives the Robert S. Bray Award for Innovation in Tactile Graphics

LightHouse’s MAD Lab Receives the Robert S. Bray Award for Innovation in Tactile Graphics

Last week, the American Council of the Blind awarded LightHouse’s Media and Accessible Design Lab with the Robert S. Bray Award for Media Excellence at the annual conference in Reno, Nevada. The Bray Award is given to a person or a company that has improved communication technology or devices, or expanded access to such devices for all blind people.

Last year, the award was presented to LightHouse partner Apple for the company’s strides in accessibility and continued dedication to inclusion-based innovation for blind users.

MAD Lab Alternative Media Specialist Frank Welte attended the conference and accepted the award on behalf of MAD Lab.

“It was exciting to see MAD Lab recognized at a national level for the cutting edge work we’re doing in making high quality tactile graphics available to the blind community,” he says. “It’s an indication that we’re coming into a golden age in the creation of and availability of tactile graphics that are accessible to blind people. We’re seeing that greater attention is being paid to effective use of tactile graphics to communicate visual information to blind people.”

The MAD Lab has earned a reputation for producing fabulous tactile media of all kinds, including raised line drawings, tactile graphics and tactile maps like this one for Alcatraz or this one of California, and other GGRNA maps – for everything from Burning Man to BART. We are thrilled to be on the forefront of tactile innovation, education and literacy.

For a rate sheet or an informal quote on a business project, contact MADLab@lighthouse-sf.org or call 415-694-7349.